Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

15 July 2013

The George Zimmarman Verdict

Alert:  Today's post has nothing to do with bicycling--not directly, anyway.  But I thought the issue was too important not to write about.

Being a trans woman, I know what it's like to be presumed guilty simply for being who and what you are.  And i have had people--including someone I mentioned recently on my other blog--use that aginst me.  And he got off nearly scot-free.

When a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the storyline included everything in the previous paragraph, except for the trans part.  Zimmerman saw a black kid in a hoodie and figured he must have been up to no good.  And he knew that in an almost entirely white and very conservative part of Florida, many people would share his assumption of Martin's gullt.

To be fair, the jury--which consisted entirely of women, some of whom were mothers--expressed justifiable doubts about what they were hearing in both sides of the case.  Beause Trayvon Martin is dead, there is much that we will never know; whatever happened, George Zimmerman was probably not in a normal state of mind, so even if he was being entirely honest, his testimony (let alone his lawyer's) could not be entirely accurate.

Even if he were in a "normal" state of mind--which would have been all but impossible in such circumstances--I would still have doubts about his account of events. However, even if I or anyone else were to discount such doubts, I still believe that Zimmerman should have been indicted for something, if only manslaughter.

When I was in ROTC (!) a long time ago, I underwent firearms training.  The instructor--who, I was convinced at the time, could have ended up in prison instead of the Army had the screw been turned just a little differently--told us something I never forgot:  "If a gun is in your hand and a bullet comes out of it, you are responsible for where that bullet goes and what it does."

In other words, he said, if your gun fires "accidentally", you are responsible for whatever damage or loss of life results.  "If the bullet from your gun hits me, it'd better kill me," he warned.  "Otherwise, I'll find you wherever you are and finish the job."

That is not only the best (well, only)  instruction I ever got on firearms safety; it's one of the best lessons on personal responsibility anyone ever gave me.  

And so, whether Trayvon Martin was on top or on bottom, or wherever George Zimmerman aimed or didn't, he was responsible for Trayvon Martin's death. Perhaps the jurors didn't understand that, or whether or how they could have voted for a manslaughter convicion.  Or they may have simply been exhausted.  Whatever the case, justice was not done for Trayvon Martin and his family.


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  2. Reserve Officers' Training Corps...wow, which branch of the military did you serve?